Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finished a Large Project: St. Joseph Cupertino Friary, Ellicott City, MD: 6/1/09 - 6/08/09

June 9, 2009

Peace and Good,

I have been home for most of the past couple of weeks. It has given me a chance to work on a number of long term projects. I have just finished a very long term project - to change the audio tapes I have done over the years to the CD format. It was not simply a question of transferring the information. I edited all of the tapes to make sure that the sound quality was the best I could make them. This past week I finished the very last of the audio tapes: a series of 12 CD's on the prophets. This was a course that I taught a number of years ago. I will begin on a couple of other taping project in the next couple of months. In fact, someone this past weekend asked me to tape the presentation I was giving on the theological virtues: faith, hope and charity.

This past weekend I gave a weekend of recollection at the Dominican Retreat House at McLean, VA. The sisters there are always so welcoming. The theme that they have for this year is "Behold, I make all things new." I used the presentations on the theological virtues to show how we can change our perspective and allow God's grace to work through us so that our hearts can be made new.

This week I am on jury duty. In our county, you are assigned a week and have to call in every evening to see if your group has to report. It is a little bit of a pain, but I was glad that we were able to find a week when I was home and free to do this.

I finished a book called the Road to Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict in the Islamic World by Jason Burke. He is a reporter who travelled extensively through the Islamic World during the 1990's. This book reminds me of another which I read a few years ago: God has 99 Names. I am trying to read up on Islam and the Islamic World. The reason is that I believe we have to know more to understand what is going on. As Burke states on the terrorists, "Their violence had an aim beyond mere destruction... By sowing fear and anger among victims, by forcing witnesses to choose between support and opposition, by creating complicity among perpetrators and their sympathizers, by creating solidarity among those who have been attacked, the militants' violence aimed to build walls where they were breaking down, create difference where difference was disappearing, maintain distance where people were coming together." Those who use violence want to create communities of hate among their supporters and their opponents. The only way to truly defeat them is to refuse to play their game. That doesn't mean that one can just stand by and let them do their acts of evil. They have to be stopped. But the way that we do this cannot make us like them. This is always the danger of war, even when the war is just.

Burke had one other insight that I thought was quite interesting. He speaks about how at the turn of the century around 1900, there were great social injustices and it gave rise to the socialist and communist movement. In the 1920' and 1930's, there was social turmoil again and it gave rise to the rightist/fascist movement. Now, in the Islamic World, there is turmoil caused by social injustice, corrupt governments, rapid social change, etc. This does not explain how to affront it, but it does explain why it arose in this era. It also suggests, however, that the movement is the symptom and we have to work on the causes.

You're all in my prayers.


fr. Jude


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